ARRS: Ultrasound can diagnose athlete's muscular trauma on-site

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To assist physicians in determining whether an athlete’s injuries are severe enough to take them out of the game, ultrasonography can evaluate and diagnose muscular trauma in professional athletes on-site, according to a study presented on May 6 at the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) 2010 annual meeting in San Diego.

Lead author of the study Ashok Kumar Nath, MD, from the department of radiology at Khoula Hospital, Mina Al Fahal in Muscat, Oman, explained that muscular trauma is very common in athletes.

“Ultrasound is a readily available, radiation-free imaging modality that allows us to diagnose muscle tears on-site,” he said.

Nath and colleagues performed their study in Muscat, Oman, including 50 male soccer players who presented with possible muscular trauma in the thigh and calf region.

Throughout the soccer games, the researchers employed ultrasound on the study participants.

Of the 50 players, 46 were found to have either a complete or partial muscle tear, as a result of the ultrasound scans. These players were then removed from the game.

“If we diagnose a muscle tear on-site, we know whether or not a player should continue playing or not. If a partial tear goes undiagnosed and a player continues to play, the continued stress of the game could result in a complete muscle tear, which is much more difficult to treat,” Nath explained.